Advertising Networks Of Internet Giants Funding Piracy Claims US University

The University of Southern California’s (USC) Annenberg Innovation Lab has claimed that ad-networks from the stables of Internet Giants like Google & Yahoo are ‘Sponsoring Piracy’. The University’s lab has made the correlation by observing the advertising on sites that offer pirated material.

The lab studied which ad networks placed the most advertisements on sites which were known to pirate music and movies online. Accordingly, it found Google to be the second most prolific advertiser on such sites, while Yahoo came sixth. The leader of the pack was OpenX, a company based in California, that supplies digital and mobile advertising tools. The firm was the top advertiser on pirate sites, confirmed the report.

Ironically, to compile the report, USC used Google’s own Transparency report which lists the names of the sites that receive the most requests from copyright owners to remove infringing content. In simpler words, owners of copyrighted material frequently found their material being offered for free on such pirating websites.

Evidently, Google knows the report exists, but hasn’t studied it. However, Google’s official response states that it is a mistake to suggest that the company’s ads are a major source of funds for pirate sites. ‘Mere presence of any Google Code on such sites is not a clear indicator that Google is sponsoring such sites through advertisement’ suggests the report. Companies like Google & Yahoo have been known to put in multiple stages of verification to ensure that the site on which their ads are displayed, are not into any illegal distribution of content. However, Online Advertising has become very complex, intricate & excessively dynamic. Hence it has become relatively easy to circumvent or simply fool the automated techniques into believing that the content is piracy-free.

Till date Tech Giants have tried many steps to combat piracy. But site owners & developers too have become smart to bypass regulations to get away with putting up advertisements on websites that hawk content obtained illegally. Its one thing to openly offer advertising to any website that gets many hits, but accusing ad-networks without verifying the procedures they have put in place to avoid illegal sites, is plain wrong. What do you think?

Image Courtesy |  newamericamedia

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